Leicester City 2:0 Chelsea
A fantastic City performance, with first half goals from Ndidi and Maddison, secured victory over Chelsea and Premier League pole position at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night.
Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged side for the third consecutive Premier League game, and it proved a winning combination again.
Although Chelsea did some early probing, it was City who took a 6th minute lead. Albrighton and Maddison combined for a short corner and although Barnes’ failed to connect properly with Albrighton’s cut back, Ndidi was lurking on the edge of the area and fired the ball home via the left hand post.
It was a great start for City and Chelsea looked rocked. Chilwell and Mendy dithered over a loose ball but City couldn’t capitalise on the error.
In the 16th minute Castagne teed up Maddison 22 yards out but his shot struck the top of the crossbar.
After twenty minutes Chelsea regained a bit of composure and enjoyed a spell of possession. James got in down the right and shot from a tight angle but Schmeichel saved and then punched the resulting corner clear.
Albrighton then had a pop from long range and Mendy tipped it over the bar.
A clearance from Mendy then threatened to send Pulisic clear but Schmeichel had come fifty yards out of his goal to intercept with a diving header.
Vardy, who was having a quiet game, had his first chance in the 34th minute, but his attempted lob over Mendy didn’t clear the keeper.
In the 38th minute Mount set Pulisic up for a run into the area but Evans tripped him. Craig Pawson pointed to the spot, but VAR showed the foul to be six inches outside the area and the decision was reversed.
After a long and ominous build-up Mount hoofed his free-kick into the Kop.
Chelsea suffered another blow three minutes before the break when City doubled their lead.
As City broke upfield Albrighton hoisted a ball into the area. Vardy appeared to be fouled by Rüdiger but the ball ran through to Maddison who calmly side-footed past Mendy.
City didn’t sit on their two-goal cushion in the second half and should have been 3-0 up after five minutes.
Albrighton curled in a cross from the right and Justin found himself unmarked at the far post but sent his header wide. One poor moment in another excellent performance.
A minute later, Chelsea threatened when Abraham got in down the right, but he was denied by a superb sliding block from Fofana. Abraham got his head to the resulting corner, but it went straight at Schmeichel.
Fofana was soon involved again, leaping high to get a touch to a dangerous ball into the area.
In the 55th minute, Albrighton’s shot on the turn found the net but the offside flag was up.
Two minutes later a break upfield saw Vardy threading a perfect pass through to Tielemans, but his low shot was blocked with Mendy managing to stick out a leg.
City were happy to let Chelsea have the ball as the game passed the hour mark, and they were creating very little by way of chances. City’s defence snuffed out everything that came their way.
Brendan Rodgers made a double change in the 76th minute with Maddison and Albrighton replaced by Pérez and Ricardo.
Castagne played a superb ball down the right to send Vardy through but a poor touch saw him crowded out.
It hadn’t been his night, but the amount of attention he receives from opposing defences allows room for others.
In the 86th minute a Ziyech free-kick was swung into the box and Werner stuck out a leg to divert it into the net. But VAR found him narrowly offside and there would be no nervy finale.
Vardy made way for Iheanacho with a couple of minutes remaining, and it was City who had most of the ball for the remainder of the game.
The final whistle heralded a fine victory, Rodgers first against Chelsea in 16 games as manager, and saw City at the top of the Premier League with half their fixture list completed.
Rodgers commented: “You have seen the real spirit of the side tonight. We were a real threat going forward. The performance and maturity of the team was pleasing. I knew we were playing against a talented team and we had to be right on our game.”
This appeared to be the night when the media realised that City were genuine title contenders, however happy they are to fly under the radar.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Castagne, Fofana, Evans, Justin, Ndidi, Albrighton (Ricardo 76), Tielemans, Maddison (Pérez 76), Barnes, Vardy (Iheanacho 88).
Substitutes: Söyüncü, Ward, Amartey, Ünder, Choudhury, Thomas.
Chelsea: Mendy, James, Rüdiger, Thiago Silva, Chilwell, Mount, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi (Werner 68), Havertz (Ziyech 67), Pulisic, Abraham.
Substitutes: Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Jorginho, Zouma, Gilmour, Azpilicueta, Emerson.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Photos: Simon Kimber
For whatever form the 2020/21 season takes, The Fox will be attempting business as usual. The best way to get a copy will be by subscription, getting it delivered to your door.
You can pay online via Paypal…
FOX Subs 2020-21 – UK click HERE.
FOX Subs 2020-21 – Europe click HERE.
FOX Subs 2020-21 – Rest of the World click HERE.